All images by Gemma Miller
Coat image by Keeley Harris
Coat from Vintage-Beau
As an event organiser, it’s rare that in my downtime I get to attend a vintage fair without their being an ulterior motive. Maybe I’m going to check out a trader or drop off some flyers for a future event. Any fellow organiser will tell you, it’s always work, work, and work. So, it made a refreshing change to head off for a day out in Manchester (childfree, might I add!) with the express purpose of mooching around a vintage fair for me and then to heading off to the Northern Quarter to find yet more records for my husband. First, our destination was Victoria Baths for The Discover Vintage Home and Fashion Fair curated by Keeley Harris.
You may know Keeley from the Festival Of Vintage in York every April, which is a mammoth event spread across many floors with live music and dance classes. The Victoria Bath’s fairs are more of a ‘back to basics vintage fair’ with lots of quality homeware and clothing traders packed into this amazing former swimming pool in the outskirts of Manchester. Bathed in the warm autumn sun, it stands grand and impressive and I was keen to get in and check out the restoration work that has been taking place over the past few years. The building has retained lots of the original features and the stained glass windows were beautiful. I even managed to sneak a picture in the original changing rooms which was pretty cool, but back to the shopping…
Alongside discovering lots of new traders, it was a great chance to catch up with some of my favourite traders who have been at my events over the summer. ‘Love From Ria Beer’ is one of my favourite stalls for cute and quirky ceramics and glassware. Ria and her mum go to great lengths to source some fab bits and pieces and I always love that they’re so reasonably priced. I’ve made plans to have a private viewing of Ria’s extensive suitcase collection as I keep sourcing stuff for our new pub. At this rate, I’ll need a bigger pub!
Next stop was ‘Enid Brown & Sons’ who specialise in lots of cute retro kid’s toys and tins. I love how this stall is always dressed with lots of battery-powered lights and the use of wooden crates to create different level displays. You can’t help but be drawn in! I had my eye on a cute Oriental inspired 50s tray so I now have a huge case of shoppers remorse as I wish I’d bought it now. If you were paying attention to last month’s article you’ll know that I clearly never learn my lesson!
But what I did mange to scoop up, more than makes up for the lack of tray. I persuaded James to treat to me a gorgeous 1950s fit and flare coat from ‘Vintage-Beau.’ I’m not ashamed to say that not only does it fit me like a glove, but I drew lots of gasps of delight from other stallholders and visitors who were convinced it was made for me. It does make me wonder if the traders that now know my style (basically ANYTHING 50s!) do this on purpose. They eye up the stock and think ‘Gemma won’t be able to resist this!’ Trudy Fielding, I’m looking at you here! Keeley managed to take a quick snap of my posing in my coat, I can only hope I was a good advert for people scouring her Instagram feed that day!
So with a big investment purchase under my arm I set about scouring the remaining stalls. It was good to see a vintage print stall there and it’s given us even more ideas for theming our guest bedrooms at the pub with a vintage travel theme. See, I’m ALWAYS working even when I try and convince myself that I’m not. I also spent a lot of time admiring the huge selection of vintage watches on display too. Although I’m a huge jewellery fanatic, I’ve not worn a watch in years. Maybe this is my chance to drop some hints towards my Christmas present, eh James? But, let’s be honest, he only has vinyl and craft ale on his mind so we bid farewell and headed off to quench his thirst!
I can highly recommend Keeley’s events and you can find out more by heading to www.discovervintage.co.uk or check out her Instagram feeds for updates on events and for a sneaky peek at the items that will be heading there.